These days, we live almost our entire lives online. It is therefore no wonder that businesses too feel the need to capitalise on this. Naturally, setting up an e-commerce business or service platform seems much more logical than establishing a brick-and-mortar shop. While the initial invested capital may be almost the same, the running costs will definitely be far lower.
If you too are an entrepreneur trying to set foot in the world of e-commerce, where better to start than in the economically flourishing city-state of Singapore. And if you’re looking for a guide for doing business in Singapore, you’ve come to the right place. Read on to discover quick tips on starting your own e-commerce business in the Lion City. While this guide is by no means exhaustive, it will help you gain important knowledge towards laying the foundation for your business plans. Let’s get started –
It almost goes without saying that a business can start only on a foundation backed by strong research. No matter how brilliant your idea for a business is, things may go awry unless you have your research in place.
Firstly, research will tell you whether your e-commerce business has an audience or a market. It will also show you what the competition is doing and help you to identify any gaps in the market that your product or service can fill. This knowledge can prove to be immensely profitable for you.
While doing research, remember to dedicate time towards calculating how much business capital you will require to get started. While starting a new venture can be exciting, be careful of overspending. Even though your business is online, keep aside sufficient funds for contingencies.
Starting a business in a new land requires you to study local guidelines and laws. This is even true for starting an e-commerce business. After all, you want to function as a legally compliant organisation to avoid any hassles. Also, learning a bit about how things work in Singapore can help you benefit from local business welfare schemes too. Singapore has many grants designed especially for small to medium businesses. Make sure to get professional help for company registration in Singapore if you are setting up a business abroad for the first time. Do also keep yourself updated on the latest laws concerning taxation in Singapore. A cross-border consultant advisory firm should be able to help you with all the professional information you need in these areas.
Before you take any steps towards setting up your website or even buying raw materials, you need to focus on business incorporation. This is the crucial stage that will lay the foundation of what kind of a business entity you are setting up and thereby also outline the specific local laws and regulations that apply to you. Once your e-commerce business is incorporated, it will be recognised as an independent legal entity in Singapore. You may seek professional help with this stage so that you complete all the required paperwork and formalities the right way.
When creating your website, you may either choose to go with ready templates online or make your very own. The second option is slightly harder but will give your e-commerce brand a truly unique online presence and design. Make sure to choose an appropriate domain name that resonates with your business and brand. Choose a good hosting service too – one that you can rely on 24/7. After all, an online store never closes its doors at night…it works round the clock. You want your e-commerce website to be accessible to your audience no matter what time of the day they choose to visit it.
Make sure that your website is user-friendly. All the major tabs for shopping, using filters to sort products, and customer support should be easily visible. Product pages should have good content with easy visibility of the different colours, designs or quantities for buyers. Try to also set up a proper customer support system for your e-commerce business. A number or 24/7 email or chat support can go a long way in creating loyal customers. It will help your buyers know that they can reach out to you at any time.
You also need to focus on setting up a secure payment gateway. Make sure to provide people with a wide variety of payment options, including credit cards, debit cards and Google Pay, among others.
Once your website is set up and your e-commerce business has been incorporated, you can go ahead and market your products or services. Apart from print advertising, do also focus on digital content marketing and SEO. After all, your business is an online brand and therefore, it will help to market it online as well. Use social media platforms to your advantage. Facebook and Instagram have billions of users. There is no limit to the possibilities.
The final step involves setting up a reliable delivery system that will ensure that your goods or services reach your buyers. You may choose to hire a third-party company to carry out delivery for you or even do it with your own manpower, depending on your needs and how far your buyers are. For instance, if you have buyers from overseas, you will have to tie-up with a third-party delivery platform.
We hope that this guide on beginning an e-commerce business in Singapore has been a great read for you today!
Ms. Rajee Maru operates out of our Singapore office as the Manager-Corporate Services. She had worked as a Corporate Secretary in the Indorama Group and Bradbury Management Consulting, Singapore. Her skills and experience include Internal Audit, Legal Assistance, Corporate Finance, and Legal Compliance. She is a Certified Company Secretary from The Institute of Company Secretaries of India and also holds a degree in Corporate Law. Rajee loves to explore new destinations, meet people, enjoys music and experiment different cuisines.